The pandemic has created unique challenges in Meatco markets
By Johnnie Hamman
Meatco Board Chairperson.
The Meatco Board looks back on a year filled with various external challenges with a sense of true satisfaction.
We commenced our fiduciary duties as a newly elected board on 1 May 2020. The Board has been hard at work to amicably resolve the challenges that Meatco faces, which directly concern you as our Valued Producers.
We would like to extend our sincere gratitude to you for your continued support throughout the year. It was a pleasure for the Board to have met most producers during the first round of Farmer’s Liaison Meetings.
During a profoundly challenging year, highlights include the fixed forward-pricing contract, which was introduced to offer a secure and more stable price to our producers. Although the international markets are very volatile, we have tried to stabilise the prices. The Covid-19 pandemic has created unique challenges in our markets and these challenges have also influenced Meatco.
Throughput remains one of our biggest challenges after the devastating drought during 2019. During the 2019 financial year we slaughtered over 116 000 head of cattle. 2020 has been a difficult year, because by the end of the 2020/21 financial year we would most likely only have slaughtered approximately 39 000 head of cattle. We are aware of the challenges of Throughput to our export abattoir, stretching from the financial constraints to Meatco (as a business) to farmers having to restock their herds.
I wish to emphasise that Meatco is a strategic organisation which belongs to all farmers. Meatco had to adapt and be creative in engaging with various stakeholders such as farmers and staff members for the Export Abattoir to survive.
We launched an initiative, known as #Meatco Matuyenene in our quest to boost Throughput. Matuyenene is an Otjiherero word that means “we are able”. This is our call upon all Namibian farmers, farmer’s associations, and cooperatives to have their animals slaughtered at the Export Abattoir. The aim of the initiative is to enable Meatco to purchase all available slaughter cattle which are in a good condition.
Since the launch of #Meatco Matuyenene in October 2020, the Livestock Procurement officers and the Livestock and Value Addition Department have been successfully hard at work.
The progress made with the United States market early this year is noteworthy. This market finally opened after eight years of negotiations and passing many intricate protocols. The performance of this market is continuously being monitored.
I would like to thank our internal stakeholders, the Meatco staff, for your commitment in a difficult year. The company passed several difficult Covid-19 compliance audits requested by various substantial clients. This shows your level of dedication and we, as the Board, are working around the clock to ensure that Meatco can adapt to the new norms in which we find ourselves.
The Board is aware that the Annual General Member’s meeting was postponed. The date for our 2019/2020 financial year-end AGM will be on 19 February 2021.
The Board is currently finalising the 2021-2026 Integrated Strategic Business Plan (ISBP). I would like to highlight that the Board needs your support in implementing this strategic plan and making it a reality. We will share more information regarding this at the AGM. I trust that you, as our valued stakeholders, will be united and remain a formidable force in assisting us to revive the livestock industry, with particular reference to our beef value chain.
The Meatco Board wishes you and your families a joyous, peaceful, and restful festive season. If you are traveling, please drive safely. Protect yourselves, follow social distancing, wear your masks, and sanitise.